Excel Tip #4: Investment Banking and Big 4 Accounting Bare Minimum Excel Basics

In the investment banking industry, analysts and associates are expected to use excel without a mouse. How is that possible you ask? The below excel tips can help you with that. These are the basic fundamental excel hot keys that will help you navigate throughout your excel sheet without a mouse.

Though it is not necessary in Big 4 accounting, it does save you time. You will appreciate these tips in January through March when you are in the busy season.

1. Move from your selected cell to the last cell either by row or column. 
Hot Keys : Hold Ctrl and use the directional keys (left, right, up, or down) 
Comments: If there is data in the cells, this will take you to the last cell with data either by row or column. However, if there is an empty cell in that row or column, this will take you to the first cell after the last empty cell.

2. Highlight from your selected cell to the last cell either by row or column.
Hot Keys: Hold Ctrl and shift then use the directional keys (left, right, up, or down)
Comments: Same rules apply as the shortcut above except instead of jumping to a cell, this highlights it.

3. Add an additional column or row 
Hot Keys: Hold Ctrl and shift then press +
Comments: From the "insert" box select whether or not you want to add the 'Entire row' or 'Entire Column'. Pressing "r" and hitting 'Enter' adds entire row. Pressing "c" and hitting 'Enter' adds an entire column.

4. To use the toolbar at the top 
Hot Key: Hit Alt 
Comments: This will highlight all the functions at the top. Then it is a matter of time before you familiarize yourself with the different hot keys to navigate within the above toolbar. For example, if you hit "Alt" then "r" and finally "c" then you will add a comment box. 

5. To view/alter a cell's formula
Hot Key: Hit F2 
Comments: Additional tip for creating absolute functions - Hit F4. This will help you cycle through a number of formulas. Remember the $ means that the coordinate is absolute even as you drag the formula across cells or copy the formula into another cell. 

6. Trace back a formula into another cell or tab. 
Hot Key: Hold Ctrl and then press [ 
Comments: This is particularly useful in determining where the formula is pulling from and prevents the need of toggling back and forth just to see where the formula is pulling from.

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